Howard’s got the vitamins to prove … something!


In his latest blog post on the MedPage Today web site (which seems to to be spreading way beyond his prostate cancer — successfully managed with active surveillance to date), Howard Wolinsky talks about what it’s costing to keep himself in vitamins (mostly not for his prostate cancer)!

The roles of vitamins in “medical care” do seem to be expanding significantly. Maybe we are starting to understand what they do or don’t do better … or maybe the vitamin industry has got a lot better at promoting the benefits of its products to health care professionals! (Of course the vitamin marketing companies still don’t have to prove efficacy and safety to the US Food and Drug Administration because vitamins aren’t “drugs”; they are simply dietary “supplements”.)

And just so we all understand Howard’s increasingly wide spectrum of clinical conditions (I am having to take notes to keep up), he has now been (correctly?) diagnosed with:

  • Low-risk prostate cancer (managed with nothing at all)
  • Cardiovascular disease of some type — unspecified to date as far as I can tell (managed with dietary modification, exercise, and vitamins)
  • Vitamin D deficiency syndrome (managed with vitamins)
  • Type 2 diabetes (managed with dietary modification, exercise, and vitamins)
  • Blepharitis (managed with vitamins)
  • Eye allergies
  • Meibomian gland dysfunction — which causes dry eyes and related problems, like inflammation of the eyes (managed with vitamins)

He has also been misdiagnosed with

Your sitemaster is beginning to wonder whether, in addition, Howard may have a condition commonly observed among medical writers, and known as reflex cognitive diagnostic syndrome or RCDS. The primary symptom of this condition — which is particularly common among writers who are new to the medical field — is a powerful tendency to believe that you are or may be suffering from almost every clinical disorder that you start to research as a writer! It took your sitemaster several years to overcome this problem himself!

Editorial note: Howard — this is a joke; you’re meant to laugh! :O)

4 Responses

  1. Thanks, Mike. I get the joke. No offense. The problem is I am 70 years old and eventually we all get something. I haven’t said much about my heart. I had a widowmaker heart attack — or STEMI — when I was 57. It was supposed to kill me. I had maybe a 95%+ blockage in the LAD — really bad. I got two stents. My many years of exercise and peak condition saved me. I had developed collateral blood vessels that bypassed the LAD. I did a bypass on myself. No major damage. I wrote first-person on this experience — the first time I wrote about my personal health. The story has saved at least one life. What more could I want?

  2. Jerome K. Jerome, in Three Men in a Boat:

    “I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch -– hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into -– some fearful, devastating scourge, I know -– and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.

    “I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever -– read the symptoms -– discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it -– wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance -– found, as I expected, that I had that too, -– began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically -– read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.”

  3. Howard may SELECT not to laugh. (Also a joke: @sitemaster you’re supposed to laugh! — Though you may elect not to …)

  4. I’m laughing. Haha.

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